Over the last few years, we have heard a lot about the importance of having a strong and balanced immune system. Good research shows that regular exercise, solid sleep, and a nutrient-packed, anti-inflammatory diet all contribute to reduced risk of illness from viruses and chronic conditions like cancer, cardiovascular, and autoimmune disease.
A nutritious, anti-inflammatory diet creates the foundation for healthy immune function in a number of ways.
- Meals that feature fresh vegetables, greens, fruit, nuts, seeds, and other healthy sources of protein provide essential nutrients that immune cells need to do their jobs. These nutrients include zinc, selenium, folic acid, and vitamins A, C, D and E.
- Phytochemicals found in a variety of plant foods — especially herbs, spices and dark green, red, orange and purple vegetables and fruit — reduce chronic inflammation, helping the immune system work more effectively.
- Fiber from plants feeds the microbiome, the collection of bacteria that live in the gut. A large part of immune function resides in the gut, where immune cells partner with healthy bacteria to keep us free from harmful pathogens and disease.
Join me in our latest episode of YRMC’s Your Healthy Kitchen, where I dive into more details about the foods that protect us from illness, while preparing a delicious, immune-boosting soup!
You can find many more nutrient-packed, immune-supportive meal ideas at yrmchealthconnect.org. Remember to follow me on Facebook as well, where I post photos and videos of the simple, healthy food I make at home, plus links to my favorite food and gardening destinations on the web.